Helena Cobban makes a poor diagnosis of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and offers a wrong solution in her Oct. 9 Opinion, "A binational Israel-Palestine." It is continued Palestinian terrorism, not Israeli settlements, that has prevented the emergence of a Palestinian state. The solution is not a binational Israeli-Palestinian state, but two sovereign states that respect each other's legitimacy.
The right of Jews to their own sovereignty should be equal to the right of all other nations. Israel does not deny Palestinians the right to their own sovereignty. The fact is that Israel has been and will be open to negotiations about the territories if only the Palestinians end the conflict and accept Israel's legitimacy. In fact, at Camp David in the summer of 2000, Israel offered extensive concessions including uprooting settlements, sharing Jerusalem, and establishing a Palestinians state on more than 90 percent of the West Bank. The Palestinians rejected the offer and turned to a campaign of violence and terror that has succeeded only in delaying their aspirations for statehood.
Ms. Cobban looks to the transition of post-apartheid South Africa as a model for a binational Israel-Palestine. Yet there is no basis of comparison between the political character of Israel today and South Africa's apartheid. Israel has always been a democracy where all citizens, regardless of religion, ethnicity, or color, are accorded full civil and political rights, and equal participation in all aspects of Israeli social, political, and civic life. It is unfortunate that Ms. Cobban advocates the demise of the Jewish state when every state has a right to control its borders and maintain its fundamental identity.
Abraham H. Foxman
New YorkNational Director, Anti-Defamation League
It has long seemed obvious to me that a two-state solution to the problem of reconciling Israeli and Palestinian claims to the lands to which both have historic connections can never work. The Israelis will always insist on maintaining superior political and military power, they will always exploit that power to repress the Palestinians economically, and the Palestinians will always fight back with whatever limited means they have at their disposal.
It is therefore heartening to me that someone like Helena Cobban, with long experience in Middle Eastern affairs, has come around to the same opinion, and that others are also discussing the possibility of a binational Israeli-Palestinian state.
Such a binational state is inevitable. The only questions are: How long will that take, and how many people on both sides will be killed in the meantime?
Eric J. Klieber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Regarding your Oct. 10 article "States take the lead on global warming": There are many scientists who do not accept the doomsday scenario painted by the advocates of the Kyoto Protocol. A more objective report on global warming would have included greater recognition of the scientific debate on this subject.
We all know about the reliability of five-day forecasts of local weather. For evidence of temperature increases, we're relying on 50- and 100-year forecasts of global weather!
The states' legislative regulation of carbon dioxide will impose unnecessary costs on industries that depend on energy. Only nuclear power could have the capacity to meet the energy requirements of a fossil-fuel cutback without producing carbon dioxide. But is a restriction on carbon-dioxide emissions really necessary? Many of us think not.
R.M. Peekema, chemist
San Jose, Calif.
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